LONDON: Leading UK retailers, including Waitrose, Argos and Laura Ashley, are set to follow in the footsteps of French fashion chain retailer Comptoir de Cotonniers in using the PowaTag app that allows consumers to buy products directly from ads.

Earlier this week Comptoir de Cotonniers created 10,000 'virtual boutiques' in Paris, Marseilles and Toulouse as it launched its 'Fast Shopping' campaign based around the app.

Shoppers using the app can scan ads in various forms – outdoor, café tabletop, magazines, taxis – to complete a purchase within seconds and get a product delivered within 48 hours. Nancy Pedot, CEO of Comptoir des Cotonniers said the idea would "redefine what multi-channel means for the retail industry", The Drum reported.

Valerie Dassier, the brand's ecommerce and CRM director said the technology was an "incredible way" to merge offline and online retail, with consumers only required to download one app to be able to buy products from hundreds of brands.

She expected the campaign would drive up impulse purchases and if it met expectations would be developed further. That could mean using proximity-based tools such as Beacons for in-store marketing as well as extending the campaign to other markets, including the UK.

From next month UK fashion retailer Laura Ashley will integrate PowaTag codes into its website and subsequently into its catalogue, Marketing Week reported, so that customers can make purchases simply by scanning product pages.

Argos, the catalogue store, and Waitrose, the supermarket chain, are also planning to go down this route, while record label Universal Music is looking at using the app to make it possible for people attending gigs to buy music and merchandise via their phones.

Almost 500 brands are reported to have signed up to use the technology, and PowaTag is also in talks with a number of charities interested in using the app to solicit donations.

Earlier this year Dan Wagner, the founder to Powa Technologies, told the Financial Times that the app "flips the balance from online players to physical retailers. It's an omni-channel platform that's unique in the world."

Data sourced from The Drum, Marketing Week, Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff